Ear mites are parasites which live inside the hair follicles of your skin. They cause itching, redness and sometimes pain when they bite into your scalp. You may have heard about them before, but not much was known about them or their life cycle. Nowadays there is a better understanding of these parasitic insects and their lifecycle.
How Do Cats Get Ear Mites From a Pet?
The most common way of getting cat ear mites (or any other type of parasite) from a pet is through flea bites. However, it’s possible that cats can get ear mites from other sources such as:
Cats living outside the home. Cats with poor hygiene habits. Pets with allergies.
Dogs that don’t groom themselves properly.
What Are Cat Ear Mites?
Cat ear mites are tiny round worms which live in the inner part of your cat’s ears. They’re very small, less than half a millimeter long and only one or two microns wide. Their life cycle lasts for three months. During this time, they grow up to become adult worms which then reproduce again and again until they eventually die off. There are over 200 different species of ear mite found in cats. While most of them don’t cause any major medical issues, some of them can lead to serious problems such as:
Excessive itching, scratching and biting.
Odor coming from the ears.
Redness and inflammation of the external ear canal.
Blood or pus dripping from the ears.
Your cat may be experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. If that’s the case, you’ll need to either ask your veterinarian or treat the ear mites yourself at home.
But, how do you know if it’s ear mites and not some other medical condition?
There are many other conditions which can have similar symptoms to ear mites. Your veterinarian will need to do a skin scraping and examine the discharge under a microscope to confirm the presence of ear mites or not.
How to Get a Diagnosis for Your Cat’s Ear Mites?
If the symptoms are very mild, your veterinarian may suggest some over-the-counter drops for your cat. But in most cases they’ll probably prescribe a stronger medication to get rid of the infestation. Some of the drugs that they may prescribe include: Ivermectin, Fenthion or Selamectin. These drugs are usually very safe for your cat and they quickly get rid of the infestation. However, in some cases, if the infestation is too severe or your cat has a certain type of sensitivity to the drug then they may not be that effective.
Will My Cat’s Ears Ever Heal Once the Ear Mites Are Gone?
Ear mites can cause a lot of problems such as inflammation, itching and even permanent hearing loss. If these mites aren’t treated in time, it may even lead to death. But, if your cat gets treated in time then their ears should start healing within a few weeks. During this time you should monitor your pet and if it seems like the ear is still causing your pet to itch or scratch a lot even after a month of treatment then you should bring him or her back to the veterinarian for a follow-up.
Does Your Cat Have or Had Mange?
Sources & references used in this article:
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Role of Molecular Diagnosis for Dog Ear Mite Infestation by V Wiwanitkit – International Journal of Molecular Veterinary Research, 2012 – Citeseer
Management of ear mites in cats by V Sasikala, M Saravanan, M Ranjithkumar, K Sarma… – Indian Pet J, 2011 – researchgate.net
Mites (Acari) by M IJMVR, V Wiwanitkit
Skin disorders of the rabbit by GR Mullen, BM OConnor – Medical and veterinary entomology, 2019 – Elsevier
PREVALENCE, HISTOPATHOLOGY AND TREATMENT OF EAR MITES (Otodectes cynotis Hering) INFESTATION IN CATS IN SELANGOR, MALAYSIA by JR Jenkins – Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal …, 2001 – Elsevier
Pet-related infections by R Kennis – Small Animal Dermatology Secrets, 2004 – Elsevier
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